The skincare category thrived during the pandemic, even as other beauty segments faltered. As we head into 2024, this will continue, supercharged by brands that address differing skincare needs honestly by ethnicity, gender and age and through products reflecting post-pandemic lifestyles.
Already in growth pre-pandemic, the global skincare products market was valued at $140.92bn in 2020 and is set to grow at a CAGR of 4.69% by 2026 (Global Newswire). New habits, screen-induced skinxiety and a quick pivot to easy-to-use digital services accelerated growth, along with newly educated, more curious consumers.
A desire for safety, self-care and convenience will prevail. In a 2021 global survey on at-home beauty by Swedish facial tech brand Foreo, 78% of people said they had upgraded their routine since lockdown, with 46% saying the biggest advantage of at-home beauty was the freedom to do more treatments. Beauty tech will achieve lasting traction, with 58% realising the benefits of at-home devices during lockdown.
In 2024, shoppers will migrate to brands that evidence claims with proven ingredients. Google searches for staples experienced huge increases YoY since 2020, with searches for serums featuring vitamin C up 1,000%, hyaluronic acid up 600% and niacinamide up 400%.
Zero tolerance of unsustainable habits will drive a shift to skinimalism, featuring single-bottle and made-to-order products. Beauty snacking will evolve, designed for travel. Skincare that works on a deeper cellular level and protects against external aggressors will uptick.
In this report, we explore these key consumer and lifestyle shifts, what they mean for skincare, and the opportunities they create.
Google Trends, Q1 2019 to Q1 2021, Beauty & Fitness, web search
Google search / Pinterest / Global Newswire / Foreo
Building a skincare regime, or brand, simply on a cycle of new products will no longer resonate with consumers. Single-product skincare with multiple active ingredients will see ‘skinimalism’ taken to the extreme. These highly concentrated hero products will take the guesswork out of application, saving time, money and the planet.
Skincare will increasingly focus on less but better, with multistep routines replaced by concentrated products and personalised formulas that address multiple concerns in one. The bottle-laden ‘shelfie’ will be neither desirable or affordable, and brands will need to help consumers avoid ‘mistake purchases’ that result in cupboards of half-used products and waste. Community beauty platform Skoosh Skin found 77% of UK women use fewer than 10 items regularly, despite buying up to 100 a year, equating to an average of over 5kg of beauty and packaging waste in a lifetime, costing £180k.
Single product brands will disrupt traditional collection models. US skincare brand Reyn launched in 2021 with just one hero product, the Base Serum. Formulated with clinically proven, highly potent wild-sourced actives, the serum uses molecular science to mimic the skin’s natural repair mechanism. A single-product strategy makes it easier for smaller indie and regional brands to enter the market. Mexican-US MUA and influencer Desi Perkins launched Dezi Skin with Claro Que Si Vitamin C Glow Serum, a single product formulated with Dezi Juice, a proprietary blend of indigenous ingredients for melanin-rich skins.
Monodosing will emerge as a form of single product skincare. Foolproof and efficient, single-shot products deliver a perfectly measured hygienically sealed dose of ingredients at peak potency, reducing waste and overconsumption. Noble Panacea says a 50ml plastic bottle creates 15 times more waste than 30 doses of its single-pod serum.
Next-gen at-home beauty devices will deliver personalised monodoses that are fresh, hyper-potent and sustainable. Launched in 2021, The Opulus device delivers freshly activated skincare on demand. Plastic-free ceramide pods are filled with active ingredients, ground up and heated then released in a single optimised dose.
How to action this: prioritise proof. Single hero products' concentrated nature means higher prices, so evidencing efficacy is vital. Biotech brand Adipeau's 2020 launch of its Active Day Cream came with over two years of testing and results captured in state-of-the-art imaging and before and after shots. Clean skincare brand Codex's nutrition-style Efficacy Panel on its packaging back the clinical results with quantifiable data.
Leverage the pandemic-driven shift to D2C online to make single hero products more accessible via flexible payments and subscriptions options. Augustinus Bader, which kickstarted the single product trend in 2019 with its now cult moisturiser, offers shoppers three different sizes and the option to spread payment using Klarna or a flexible subscription that earns loyalty points and every sixth product free.
US-based single product brand Reyn's Base Serum is formulated with highly potent, clinically proven wild-sourced active ingredients and uses molecular science to mimic the skin’s repair
Mexican-American make-up artist and influencer Desi Perkins launched Dezi Skin with Claro Que Si Vitamin C Glow Serum, a single product formulated with Dezi Juice